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How To Write A Screenplay AND Develop Software

June 26th, 2011 by Seth Kenvin

Character Empathy Is Key

Flying Virgin America, laptop on tray-table, DishTV showing above that on the screen built into seatback, watching makingof, and struck by what’s at ~7 minutes into this video, thoughts from screenwriter Craig Mazin about how he practices his craft.

For me, the best way to write for characters is to be a little crazy yourself, the way actors are a little crazy, because actors have to sort of subsume their own sense of identity into somebody else’s, an imaginary person’s. When you’re a writer, you don’t have to do that quite so publicly, but you do have to sort get a little schizoid about the work, because when you’re writing characters, you have to think like they think. The only way you can think like they think is if you understand who they are fully, and the only way you can understand who they are fully is to really, really create another person.

This is just an extension of what we did as kids and made up imaginary friends or took little action figures and created desires and motivations for them and conflicts. Then you just be real about them as best you can, if you’re writing that sort of movie. Try and be true to the person that you’ve created, and they theoretically will turn out interesting if you’re true and real to them, but you have to do the work. You have to do the work, and you have to understand people, be a little bit of a psychologist

Such empathy in core to software product management as well, in our case concern with the perspectives, motivations, capabilites etc. of  various user personas in parallel Craig Mazin’s thoughts about characters being written. Providing software for media production, we love these sorts of opportunities to relate our respective crafts.

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Beautiful Software For Beautiful Production

September 19th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin

Aesthetic Merit Up On Our List With Scalability, Reliability, Performance And So On

A new customer signed up last week. I checked out the guy’s site and was struck by what gorgeous content he’s produced. But that’s of course true of many of our users. I am often consumed by the software nitty-gritty of our software for media production, and sometimes overlook the media that gets produced. It’s a privilege to have a role that facilitates such great work.

It’s also a challenge to build tools for craft. Given our customers’ strong stylistic sensibilities, it’s important that our software aesthetically appeal to them. More so, as they often point out to us, our customers use our software for work with their clients, so it’s important that through us they are effective artistic authorities. There is always much to consider about the next feature, faster service, enhancing reliability, but earning the honor of facilitating beauty merits consistent top priority by us.

Sean Dick’s expressed some interesting, related thoughts in this blog. I’ll try to get our new client’s permission to include some links to his work, and try to update this post accordingly.

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How Much For Free, How Much For Pay

March 30th, 2010 by Seth Kenvin

Week Of Deep Thoughts Post #2

Today’s deep thoughts in a moment, but first some knee surgery levity. Met a customer this morning who gets surgery on a torn meniscus tomorrow (my op was for new ACL & repairing some femur damage) — best wishes Michael! Anyhow, we arrived at destination simultaneously, from different directions, converging with each of us on crutches. That gets heads in the room turning.

Drawing topic again today from stuff in the small-n news right now. Firm moves being made by big-N News Corp to insist on for-pay journalism on the internet. Closer to our company’s home is the weak commitment and shrinking programming from video content owners for Hulu, despite lots of viewing, is in large part driven by desire to retain capabilities for monetization from viewer pay.  Closer still, as a software company, we face dilemma of maximizing our user base with ability to use our stuff for free versus maximizing revenues by making sure all’s paid for.

Our posture emphasizes for-pay usage, and we prefer maintaining that from the outset of our growth, instead of jeopardizing momentum by switching later. New users can sign up and try the full range of video.Market7 services for free, at decent capacity, but the limitations are set such that usage can’t practically extend beyond doing a single, not-gigantic, video production project. One could argue that by not giving away more during our early existence and maximizing user base we are in fact not optmizing our revenue prospects. We feel differently and think it’s best for start-ups to orient ourselves by intelligently & always understanding how users tangibly value offerings, and to adjust operations with consideration of that.

Lots of people seem to expect News Corp to face some difficult come-uppance  while trying to reverse its own participation in getting consumers to expect news on the Internet for free. That may be a good point. We’re picking a practice of having usage for-pay from the get-go with no switch in model anticipated.

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Our Users make us who we are.

March 14th, 2008 by Curtis Schofield

Dear Users : It’s easy to forget that we are a community and we will need reminders and help in this process.

We don’t exist in a vacuum. We are all working together – all of us engineers, designers, clients, producers – to facilitate a new expectation of what a pleasant experience is.

For this reason I would like to encourage any of our users to know that we value whatever feedback they can give us and that we are interested and concerned about giving them the best possible experience from the best possible research and design.

Each person that spends time crafting something of particular matter to a user is extending themselves towards the important details of what is really going on between the human and the interface; together we take a step towards an interesting and unknown future. It is a future that we are building together. Learning from each other and striving towards something that ultimately remains ineffable.

I think that is rad.

Happy 3.14 day -> present

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